Homelessness

‘Sit down Davy, I think it is time I told you The Story,’ said Dad as I walked across the square on my way home from school, leaving the shower there behind me.

‘What do you mean Dad, what story?’

‘You have probably heard rumours and gossip about it from your mates, now I want to confirm to you The Story, just like my Dad did to me when I was your age, and his Dad before that’

‘Err, ok then Dad. Do you want to talk about it here, in the centre of Nottingham?’

‘Why not, this is now our home.

‘OK, Dad.’

‘Listen well, Son.’

*****

‘Many, Many years ago, when time was still young, there was The Void. It was dark, cold and still. The Void existed for many years, epochs and eons until one day, a puff of vapour appeared. Out of that vapour came a breath. This breath condensed in the dark and still upon the cold. It stayed there in the dark, frosty and crystalline because of the cold. There was not a trace of Brownian motion. Nothing happened for many more long eons. Then a moon burst into existence. It reflected a ghostly dim light from the far distant Sun but it was enough to see the crystals sparkling in the greenish light. It had been postulated by scholars that the moon was made of green cheese. There was enough light to see that this was indeed the Garden of Edam. It was called the Planet of Troo.

We were all happy there. It was a clearly structured society. Because it was so cold, everyone knew their place within the crystal lattice. Family bonds were short and symmetrical. Young children were frightened into submission by their parents of terrible warnings about what would happen if they were banished to the Void. There was no liquid water as Planet Troo was too far away from the Sun to be in the goldilocks zone. After many happy years of unchanging contentment, some scholars warned that a rogue planet was approaching – it would not impact Troo but the new planet’s gravity would have a disturbing effect and could well break up Troo. This is what happened and Troo was broken into unknowable numbers of fragments of ice, known forever after as the Oort Cloud.

Someone had to be blamed. A hunt for scapegoats took place. A group of young people were found and blamed because they had been practicing the sin of sublimation. The guilty ones were rounded up and sentenced to be banished to the Void. Banished to the terrifying cold, black velvet, unknown, of the Void. A huge lump of dirty ice was given to them with a brief, ‘Good Luck,’ then they were sent upon their way with everyone thinking that they would never survive the Void because we all believed the stories we had been told as children.

The Oort Cloud is in the far reaches of the solar system but the Sun’s gravity still has a very small but insistent pull. The chunk of ice was eventually captured by the Sun’s gravity and began to describe a very long elliptical orbit around it with the Oort Cloud at aphelion. Kepler’s laws were unknown then so all thought the orbit would be circular and so would easily miss the Earth at Perihelion.  This would mean that the comet, because so it was named, would forever orbit the sun with only slight perturbations during an alignment of the planets. The comet warmed up as it approached the Sun and started releasing a tail of particles away from it. It could still be seen from the Oort Cloud but appeared to be wavering, because of the gravity perturbations, as it orbited the sun, hence the fable of The Wandering Dew.

As they closed upon the Earth, it became clear that they were a Near Earth Comet and there was a high probability that they would impact the Earth as the orbit was altered by the closeness of the planet. They got closer and closer until they crashed into the Earth. The kinetic energy was instantly turned into heat, which melted the ice so a great quantity of water was delivered to the earth – along with the organic molecules that had dirtied the ice. This has always been known as The First Splash.’ Davey and his Dad then spat upon the ground to recall this event and as a mark of respect for this gift of creation.

‘Over the following geological ages in the Paleoproterozoic, more comets crashed into the Earth with their cargoes of organic molecules and so the oceans were formed and beasts grew within them, starting with simple algae formed from the molecules carried by the comets. All the people on the comets were, of course, incinerated on impact.’

‘So that is The Story, young Davy. Now you must pass it on to your children.’

‘How will I know when to tell them, Dad?’

‘You will know when the time is right.’

‘OK, Dad,’ said Davy as I prepared to skip off home.

‘Wait, said Dad, ‘I must explain why we are always moving. It is because we feel we do not belong, we are homeless, we are always searching for a way back to the Garden of Edam. I will now tell you a story that highlights this, here on Earth.’

*****

‘Almost all the water on the Earth is in the oceans. A warm atmosphere above it evaporates the water from the sea and forms clouds above it. Coriolis forces start to spin the clouds and sometimes a tropical storm or hurricane is formed. This blown across the land where it is raised by the mountains and cooled. The clouds cannot hold as much water at this lower temperature so a rainstorm starts to fall on the seaward side of the mountains. Rivulets start to form on the high ground and they form mountain torrents as they merge. They eventually reach the plains where they meet up to form huge, meandering rivers on their way to the sea. They carry sediment from the erosion in the mountains and form new land on the edges of the rivers before they reach the sea and dump the remaining silt, forming a delta. This is called the water cycle.

It rains here in Nottingham, often. The rain runs down along the gutters and forms puddles. The puddles form in dents and cracks in the ground. Do you not think it is strange and wonderful that the shape of the cracks and dents exactly fits the puddle where we are now talking? Is this not the absolute proof of intelligent design?

We fit in and belong here. This is our real home, Davy.  We are homeless no longer.

© Richard Kefford                                                                                                        Eorðdraca

*****

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